Torben Carlsen at International Investment Summit

Torben Carlsen is a panelist at the virtual YASED International Investment Summit on 8 December from 15:10 to 16:10 CET.  Together with the rest of the panel, he will talk about global supply chians.

The aim of this summit is to collectively unite the international investment community and discuss the changing outlook for the future of investment. The entire event will take place between 7-11 December.

YASED International Inverstors Association is a non-governmental organisation representing companies in Turkey. They want to improve the efficiency and profitability of international companies in Turkey and attract investors to the country by contributing to the improvement of the business and investment environment. It is now 40 years since the organisation’s establishment, and this is acknowledged with this large international investment summit.

If you’d like to Torben and the other speakers at the online summit please fill out the contact form at the bottom on their website or simply send an email to

Annual General Meeting and staff meeting at DFDS Lithuania

On Wednesday 3 April, Torben Carlsen took the opportunity to meet our Lithuanian colleagues at a staff meeting in the Radisson Hotel in Klaipėda, where he was participating in AB DFDS Seaways Lithuania’s Annual General Meeting on the same day.

On 3 April, Klaipėda hosted our newly-appointed CEO Torben Carlsen and Peder Gellert, as well as members of the senior management team.

The occasion was the Annual General Meeting of our Lithuanian ferry company, AB DFDS Seaways, which took place in the conference premises of the Klaipėda Concert Hall.

As chairman of AB DFDS Seaways, Peder Gellert Pedersen presented a recap of the main events in 2018, marked by an increase in competition on our Lithuania – Sweden service, and the incidents on Finlandia Seaways and Regina Seaways which had a negative impact on results. On the positive side, he was pleased with the increased demand for passenger services and cargo transportation during the summer and autumn, and emphasised that some reorganisation and service improvements provided a positive stimulus for moving the business forward.

As part of the agenda, the board of the company was re-elected, with Torben Carlsen replacing Niels Smedegaard.

After the meeting, the board members and managers enjoyed a gala dinner, where Peder Gellert briefly summarised the areas on which the Baltic business should focus, and thanked everyone for a fantastic job during the year.

Staff meeting with Torben
In the morning, our Lithuanian colleagues gathered at the Radisson Hotel just across the street from our headquarters in Klaipėda. They had been invited to a staff meeting with the newly-appointed CEO Torben Carlsen, who reviewed DFDS’ results for 2018, and offered his view on recent acquisitions and the Brexit problem, amongst other things. He emphasised that DFDS will continue its development direction and growth through meaningful acquisitions.

Torben also had time to answer questions, ranging from the potential acquisition of the terminal in Klaipėda to his view on IT and digitisation.

The board of directors at AB DFDS Seaways’ Annual General Meeting, with Thomas Mørk, Jonas Nazarovas, Martynas Jonkus, Peder Gellert Pedersen (Chairman), Torben Carlsen and Anders Refsgaard.

Torben Carlsen and Karina Deacon present the Q1 2020 results

Watch this video and see how DFDS performed in the first quarter of 2020.

To learn more, please read this article and visit the Q1 page on

You can find a transcript of the video here.

Q1 results: Operating profit 10% down from first quarter of last year

This is the content of a press release that will soon be published on

DFDS’ first quarter results: Navigating through a pandemic
DFDS’ operating result for the first quarter of 2020 was affected by the coronavirus pandemic that impacted our business from March and resulted in a drop in revenues of 1%. Operating profit was DKK 610 million, which is 10% down from the first quarter of last year.

“The main reason for the reduced revenue and result was the travel restrictions between countries that forced DFDS to suspend sailings on the Amsterdam – Newcastle and Copenhagen – Oslo cruise routes and restrict them to lorry drivers and essential travel on other routes from mid-March,” says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.

Freight routes continue
All other routes in DFDS’ ferry network in the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the English Channel continue servicing our freight customers.

“We are very pleased that governments in our region kept borders open for freight traffic and lorry drivers to keep supply chains and production running and food and other supplies available in the shops. This enabled us to keep serving our customers.

“We have introduced all recommended measures to protect our employees, partners and customers against the spread of the virus, and to ensure we can keep operating and live up to our obligations to our customers and the communities we serve,” he says.

Capacity quickly adapted
Despite open borders for trade, trade volumes were affected by temporary suspension of production facilities, such as in the car and textile industries, and storage being gradually filled. This meant that DFDS also saw a moderate drop of freight volumes on our ferries and in our logistics network ashore.

“Luckily we have the flexibility to reduce our capacity to lower volumes quickly by laying up ships. Currently, 17 out of more than 50 ships are laid up. In addition to this, we are grateful for the support packages provided by the Government. This has enabled us to furlough (temporarily lay off, ed.) about 2,800 colleagues to keep costs down and bring DFDS safely through the pandemic,” he says.

Financially prepared
In addition to own financial resources, DFDS has secured the necessary financing from banks, and has the liquidity needed to bring the company safely through the crisis.

“It is particularly difficult to predict the future during a pandemic. However, we estimate that DFDS results in terms of EBITDA will most likely come down towards DKK 2 billion for the full year in this highly exceptional and unpredictable year.

“I hope that the pandemic will soon be under control, and that we can also soon welcome passengers on board our ferries. We have introduced all recommended measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and there is plenty of space to maintain the social distancing from other people. Restaurants, cafés and entertainment industries ashore will certainly benefit from the extra business which visitors from abroad could bring them.”


Covid-19: Headquarter adapts workforce to pandemic

The temporary reduction of passenger and freight activities reduce certain headquarter activities and therefore some colleagues will be sent on paid temporary leave.

Travel restrictions and other measures that aim to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus, have dramatically reduced our passenger services and are also beginning to impact our freight activities.

Due to suspended routes and reduced on-board services, colleagues at sea and ashore have been or are being sent on paid temporary leave.

This is possible due to the national aid packages that aim to ensure that companies like DFDS can better adapt their costs to the situation, maintain employment and be ready to regain activities and welcome people back as soon as the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Obviously, the lower activity level affects our headquarter functions as well. Therefore, from tomorrow, we will also start sending headquarter staff on paid temporary leave.

If you are among the 50 colleagues included, you will be informed about it today by your manager, and it is very important for me to underline the obvious: It has nothing to do with your performance. On the contrary, in the Executive Management Team and the Board, we are extremely impressed with your work and behaviour throughout the crisis. It is solely a measure to reduce our costs in the affected areas so we can get through the crisis in good shape and continue as a great place to work. In fact, we can’t wait to welcome you back and get business back to speed again.

In line with EMT measures

In general, we will follow the measures which we informed about last week.

This means that we will reduce functions that have been heavily impacted by the reduced operational activity level but keep focusing on delivering on strategic projects that are long term business critical. This includes projects such as the ERP project, DFDS Direct, the climate challenge, CSR and other strategic initiatives.

We are closely monitoring the situation and believe that, with these measures and your help, we will get DFDS well through this crisis – and we will maintain our fantastic teams that are our best guarantee for quickly regaining our strength and business.

On behalf of the Executive Management Team

Torben Carlsen

Despite Brexit: Win23 Strategy set to create growth

Dear all,

We have just informed the stock exchange about our results for the year 2019, and though developments were slower towards the end of the year, full-year revenues increased 6% to DKK 16.6 billion. The operating result (EBITDA) increased 1% to DKK 3,633 million.

Despite the growth, it was in the lower end of our initial expectations. This was an indirect effect of Brexit as the continued uncertainty about the future trading conditions slowed investments, trading volumes and travel in the UK market.

Our Mediterranean business is still impacted by a recessionary Turkish economy and certain operational issues following the absorption of the significant volumes of EKOL early 2019 but we see a gradual recovery in 2020. The Logistics Division continued to perform well in spite of the Brexit situation, although Nordics saw lower results than 2019 where strong activity in automotive had boosted results.

The somewhat lower developments in revenues and results do not mean that we had a slow year. On the contrary, we can look back at a nearly complete change of Management. And more than once, we had all men and women on deck to prepare for Brexit – only to see Brexit postponed in the very last minute. It was also the year in which we took delivery of the first three of our mega freight ferries and continued building ships in China.

In fact, it has been an extremely busy and exciting year, and I can’t thank you enough for your fantastic efforts that keep making DFDS stronger every year.

Our ambition is to grow

The Brexit uncertainty will continue in 2020 until we know whether the transition period will be replaced by a trade agreement or not, and we do not have the power to speed up Brexit. Instead, it is in our own hands to create the growth we foresee in the 2020 outlook.

If we work together, collaborate across our many businesses, we can grow our existing business in many places, and create new revenues according to the plans laid out in the four pillars of our Win23 Strategy.

I am confident that we will see growth in the Cold Chain, Automotive and Forest & Metal transport services, where we now have dedicated teams to create it. We will see our increasing digital capabilities grow online sales and improve operational efficiency. We are underway with new passenger products. We will also see the benefits of a new, more efficient route structure in BU Mediterranean.

All of this, and more, will, with your support, make DFDS grow in 2020 and beyond. I look forward to collaborating with you on this ambition.

Thank you very much to everyone for your commitment and hard work in 2019.


Torben Carlsen



DFDS visits Turkish Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications

On 30 January, Torben Carlsen, CEO, Peder Gellert Pedersen, EVP & Head of Ferry Division, and Lars Hoffmann, VP and Head of BU Med, met with Mehmet Cahit Turhan, the Turkish Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications, to extend and strengthen the cooperation between DFDS and Turkey.

Ali Kurumahmut, former member of the Council of State appointed by the President of the Republic of Turkey, Selim Dursun, Deputy Minister, and Ahmet Selçuk Sert, Deputy Undersecretary & General Manager of Maritime and Inland Waters Regulation, also attended the meeting on behalf of the Ministry. Levent Şinel, Port Operations Manager, and Arif Akkoz, Agency Manager were also at the meeting on behalf of BU Med, alongside Lars Hoffmann.

During the meeting, the history of DFDS and current investments, including IT, made by DFDS in Turkey since 2018 were discussed by Turkish officials and DFDS executives. They also highlighted DFDS’ trust in Turkey and the Turkish logistics sector as one of the most crucial elements, and discussed the upcoming investments plan.

Lars Hoffmann says: “It was great to have Torben and Peder in Ankara to meet the Minister of Transport and the Undersecretary. The Ministry is handling most of the formalities relating to our Turkish-flagged vessels, terminals etc. It is important for BU Med and DFDS to have good relationships with the authorities in Turkey. I am sure this visit will benefit BU Med in the long term, as the Turkish Government values our investments in Turkey, and understands our business. A special thanks to Arif and Levent, who have achieved the extraordinary feat of establishing this meeting with the help of their relationships.”

The Turkish Minister of Transportation Mehmet Cahit Turhan and Torben Carlsen holding the honorable gift from the minister.

From left: Peder Gellert, Torben Carlsen, Mehmet Cahit Turhan, Lars Hoffmann, Selim Dursun, and Levent Sinel

Brexit: No changes to DFDS in 2020

Torben Carlsen

When today, 31 January ends, the UK will no longer be member of the EU.
This is sad for many of us. However, there will be a transition period until the end of 2020, during which the UK will follow EU rules. Therefore, there will be no changes to trade during 2020. At DFDS, we will continue working as usual for the rest of the year.

Preparations continue
We do not know what will happen when the transition period ends.

During the transition period, the EU and the UK will negotiate a trade agreement. Hopefully they will reach an agreement that will allow free trade and free flow of goods to continue.
However, we have no guarantee that this will be the case and therefore, we will continue to prepare for the customs procedures that we risk seeing from the beginning of 2021.

We have come far in our preparations, and we have achieved the important Authorised Economic Operator certification in nearly all relevant locations. We will now continue fine-tuning our IT systems and hire and train customs experts so we can offer customs services to our clients. Most importantly, we will continue our work to inform and assist those customers who have not yet had a chance to prepare.

Transition period can be extended
The UK government has until July to ask for an extension of the transition period. However, we do not assume this and plan to be ready for customs control from 1 January 2021.

The UK does not leave DFDS
DFDS will be the same after Brexit. The UK will continue to be a major part of our network as it has been since 1866, and our UK colleagues will be as integrated in the DFDS organisation as they are today.

There is no reason to deny that it has been a frustrating process, and that it is unsatisfactory that the uncertainty about the future continues until we have a trade deal or the transit period ends without one. But I am proud of the way you are handling the Brexit preparations and of your commitment to make the best of it for DFDS. I also have great confidence in the UK’s ability to regain growth when there is again certainty about the future. Therefore, I sleep well in spite of seeing our dear friends in the UK leaving the EU.

Torben Carlsen

Foundation stone-laying for the new HQ

Today is a very special day for DFDS. The construction of our new headquarters officially started at the foundation stone-laying ceremony in Copenhagen.

Marius Møller, Director of PensionDanmark, welcomed guests and presented the speakers: Torben Carlsen; Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen; Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO, PensionDanmark; Søren Mølbak, Director, PLH Architects; and Martin Manthorpe, Director, NCC.

Torben spoke about the aim for our new headquarters: a place with room for everyone; an all-embracing workplace, designed to bring people together, as is only natural for an increasingly international, diverse workplace with 700 employees from 40 countries.

“It needs to provide a framework that inspires collaboration and helps to break down boundaries between people and disciplines. A place where experienced employees and the children of a new and digital age can all thrive and be inspired by innovation and development. Therefore, the move from DFDS House to the new headquarters will be more than a journey of 800 metres between the current and the future office. It will be a cultural journey that sets the course for the future of DFDS,” said Torben Carlsen.

After the final speech, a time capsule was buried in a steel box that later will be placed into the foundations. The capsule contains objects from each speaker, and symbolises the year when construction started. Torben contributed a DFDS route map, pictures of Hollandia Seaways and a DFDS truck, representing our core services, and a letter to the future describing DFDS in 2020 and the issues that we are focusing on. You can read the letter here by clicking here.

A big thank you to our colleagues who sent in suggestions, and to Group Marketing for the design.

From left: Torben Möger Pedersen, Frank Jensen and Torben Carlsen about to put the time capsule into a steel box.

Frank Jensen and Torben Carlsen ready with the trowel.

Niklas Andersson, EVP and Head of Logistics Division; Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel, EVP and Chief People Officer; and Peder Gellert, EVP and Head of Ferry Division, were also present at the ceremony to see the start of their future workplace.

Our new CFO Karina Deacon has now joined DFDS

Karina Deacon is new CFO and member of DFDS’ Executive Board from 1 January 2020.

“I am very pleased to welcome Karina Deacon to DFDS. Her experience from successful listed companies and significant international career fit perfectly with her new role at DFDS,” says Torben Carlsen.

In her new role as Group CFO at DFDS, a primary task will be to drive continued earnings growth. Karina Deacon will be responsible for the Finance Division that includes Corporate Finance, Group Accounts & Tax, Investor Relations & Corporate Planning, Procurement, Legal & Insurance as well as DFDS’ internal Strategy & Consulting team.

Karina Deacon (50) has extensive strategic and financial management experience from positions with several large, international companies. She holds a Master of Business Administration & Auditing and has gained experience with various management, finance and accounting roles at PWC and ISS and positions as Group CFO from Landic Property, Saxo Bank and most recently Nilfisk.

“Together with Karina I look forward to achieving the ambitions of our new Win 23 strategy. In this respect, Karina’s experience with efficiency and transformations will be of great value to DFDS,” says Torben Carlsen.

“I am really excited to join DFDS and a team that has succeeded in creating impressive results over many years. I look very much forward to contribute to this together with my new colleagues,” says Karina Deacon.

Karina Deacon lives in Virum, North of Copenhagen, is married and has two boys 18 and 20 years old.

Brexit on 31 January but no changes to trading until the end of 2020

The UK’s Withdrawal Agreement is now set to be ratified by the UK parliament. However, there will be no changes to trading arrangements until the end of 2020, as the time until then is a transition period during which the EU and the UK will negotiate a trade agreement.


After months of uncertainty and several Brexit deadlines, the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement is now set to be ratified by the UK parliament. This means that the UK will leave the EU on 31 January 2020.

However, there will be no changes to trading arrangements until the end of 2020, as the time until then is a transition period during which the EU and the UK will negotiate a trade agreement.

The final stages of ratification of the agreement will take place after Christmas, with the lower house of Parliament having until 9 January to approve the legislation, giving it just over three weeks to then pass through the upper house and receive Royal Assent.

The negotiations about a trade agreement will be very important for DFDS, our customers and partners. Therefore, we will follow the negotiations very closely, and our trade associations will naturally try to ensure that the industry’s viewpoints are heard and paid attention to by the negotiators.

We keep preparing

The new situation will not change our need to continue preparing for Brexit.

The UK Parliament is set to decide that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020, regardless of whether there is a trade agreement at that time, although some commentators see this as ‘sabre rattling’ by Boris Johnson and not necessarily seriously meant. This means that the risk of a no-deal Brexit situation has moved to the end of the year, and that we now have a year to finalise our preparations for handling this.

We hope and believe that there will be a new trade agreement. However, DFDS does not build on hope and belief, and we will continue the fantastic work you have done in the Brexit team and locally to get ready for Brexit. We will also continue supporting our customers with their preparations.

Thank you to everyone for taking us this far. I know I can rely on you to take DFDS even further, so we are ready to continue serving our customers and grow our UK-EU trade after 31 December when we have a new situation.

Torben Carlsen, CEO

Help name our new headquarters

This exciting and beautiful piece of functional art shown above will be DFDS’ new headquarters from 2022. It will house about 700 colleagues currently working at DFDS House and Harbour House, as well as colleagues and guests from the entire DFDS network who come for meetings, training etc.

But what are we going to call it? Headquarters isn’t a very personal and warm term for a building where many of us are going to spend a lot of our time, nor is it a great name for a design we can truly be proud of.

So please help us find a suitable name for this great building and future workplace. A name that signifies its meaning to us, and supports DFDS’ brand and image.

All DFDS employees are invited to participate, at sea and ashore, and we will greatly appreciate your contributions. The suggestions will be evaluated by the Executive Management Team and will be revealed at the ceremony marking the start of construction on 28 January.

Don’t hesitate! Think about it and send your suggestion(s) for a name for our new headquarters to by 12 December 2019 and win a dinner out for two.

Torben Carlsen

Q3 shows DFDS’ rock solid course

Dear everyone,

This morning, we published our third-quarter financial report, and again, it demonstrated DFDS’ solid business model.

In spite of political challenges such as Brexit, trade disputes, the downturn in the Turkish economy and weakened growth in major European economies, we were able to maintain our course and present an operating result (EBITDA) of DKK 1.195m for the third quarter of 2019. This is on level with our record 2018 result and means we can be more specific in our expectation for a full-year profit of DKK 3.55-3.75 billion, rather than the previous wider range of DKK 3.5 to 3.8 billion.

This is no small achievement in light of the challenges in the markets and a very good reason for optimism for the future.

Our optimism is also fuelled by the fact that we do see a continued recovery of the trade volumes between the EU and Turkey. We also expect to see benefits from the recent improvement in our route structure in the Mediterranean. As you know, we focused our service between Turkey and France on the port of Sète where we benefit from serving only one port and being closer to key markets and rail connections.

Brexit remains unresolved – and has caused both freight and passenger volumes to decline in Q3. However, if a trade agreement between the UK and the EU is ratified before 31 January, we believe the UK economy has the potential for growth again.

However, our optimism for the future is based more on our own ability to grow our business with our Win23 strategy rather than on market growth, and we are making good progress on the implementation of Win23.

In Pillar A, the Business Units dealing with select industries – Cold Chain, Automotive and Forest & Metal – have their organisations in place now and the new BUs are already working on growing business in those industries.

In Pillar B, the teams and plans for continuing the development and roll-out of our new digital freight booking such as DFDS Direct and DFDS Spot and other digital service offerings are in place and will continue, supported by the progressing digitisation of our core processes.

In Pillar C, the Mediterranean business is being strengthened by the streamlining of terminal operations and the route structure. Further initiatives to grow our business and network are also underway, such as the Staying Ahead project in Logistics.

In Pillar D, we acted fast and found two new cruise ferries to increase the value for our passenger business with new offerings on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route. Unfortunately, the agreement with Moby had to be cancelled as they were unable to deliver the ships. Luckily, the current cruise ferries are functioning well and can continue delivering a good experience for our customers. In the meantime, our search for a solution that can fulfil our growth ambition continues.

Thank you to everyone for your contribution to our solid Q3 result. We will need your skills, creativity and engagement no less in the future. Hard work awaits us, but also exciting times with more business, more exciting tasks and digital opportunities.

If we collaborate and support each other, we will be difficult to beat. Together, we have what it takes to fulfil our ambition of achieving an operating result of DKK 5.5 billion in 2023 and continue to improve DFDS as a great service provider and a great company to work for.

Torben Carlsen, CEO


See the full results here

Great visit to Pendik

During his tour of Pendik earlier this week, Torben Carlsen met many colleagues in the port and agency. At a staff meeting, he informed them about the status of DFDS and the implementation of our Win23 strategy and its significance to BU Med.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to visit our port operation in Pendik. On a tour of the port, Port Operations Manager Levent Sinel explained how the operation has seriously improved recently. For example, loading and unloading of Ephesus took 18 hours at the beginning – this week it took only 10 hours.

Apart from the dedication of our colleagues, the improvement has also been supported by the simplification of our route network, which means that all vessels from Pendik now call at Trieste whereas before, France-bound vessels also called at Pendik but are now calling from Yalova. And as agency manager Arif Akkoz and Lars Hoffmann told me, the first steps in our improvement work have so far resulted in a more structured operation that has removed the queues we have previously seen building up at the terminal gate.

I was also very pleased to listen to Levent explaining the extensive safety measures undertaken at the port following the recent tragic incident in Trieste, emphasising that speed of operation must never happen at the expense of safety.

After the tour, I had the opportunity to meet the full crew in Pendik. I was thrilled to see the motivation and eagerness of all my colleagues to do a good job for our customers and was challenged by a few of my colleagues with questions showing their focus and dedication.

Torben Carlsen

We welcome Brexit date extension and will continue to prepare

With the three month’s Brexit extension accepted by the EU, the danger of a disruptive no-deal Brexit on 31 October is removed. We are now hoping for a final ratification of the recent Brexit agreement and a timeline before 31 January so the transition period can begin. The transition period will guarantee business as today until at least the end of 2020.

The extension removes the risk of a cliff-edge Brexit and means that we can all focus more on our daily business in the affected areas, at least until 31 January 2020.

However, we may still face a no-deal Brexit if the agreement and the timeline haven’t been ratified by the UK before 31 January 2020.

And even though the agreement and the timeline get ratified, we do not yet know what the trade agreement that is anticipated to follow the transition period will look like. The UK and EU can agree to extend the transition period if they need more time to negotiate a trade agreement, but we have no guarantee that negotiations will be successful.

Therefore, we can’t rule out a no-deal Brexit at a later time and will continue maintaining and refining the systems and processes we have developed for Brexit. Yesterday’s extension also gives us more time to focus on building the expertise to offer customs services to our customers and informing them about the preparations they need to make.

Thank you again for your contribution to our high level of preparations for Brexit. There is a lot to be proud of. In our Brexit team, in business in all relevant locations and in IT you have gathered expertise and knowledge. You have built new processes and systems and tested how they work – and established unprecedented collaboration with our partners in the Governments, authorities, ports, at terminals and among customers.

All this means that we can approach the next Brexit hurdles with confidence if no solution is found before the deadline(s).

Best regards

Torben Carlsen

DFDS is Denmark’s 37th biggest company

Torben Carlsen was interviewed by Danish media Group Berlingske, speaking about the strategy, Turkey, Brexit, and the future.

In the Danish media Group Berlingske’s survey of the 1000 largest companies in Denmark, DFDS was on Friday 25 October ranked as the 37th largest. Furthermore, we were listed as Denmark’s second largest shipping company after Maersk.

However, it wasn’t only about size. In an accompanying article, focus was on the transformation of DFDS into a much more profitable company that has grown results by every year since 2009 and achieved its best ever results in 2018. Light was also shed on developments in BU Med and Brexit’s effect on us – including our robust preparations.

“It is very pleasing that people appreciate our extremely positive development, which we sometimes forget to appreciate ourselves because we are deeply engaged in developing our company for the future and implementing our Win23 strategy,” says Torben Carlsen who was interviewed for the article.

Win23 strategy kick-off to go local

The nearly 200 managers who participated at our Management Conference 2019 were part of the kick-off of our Win23 strategy. Now it’s time for everyone at DFDS to get involved. Win23 was at the very heart of the conference and at the first staff meeting in a group wide series of meetings that were held in DFDS House last Friday. Here Torben Carlsen informed about the conference including how the Win23 strategy can become a success.

“Win23 is extremely important for the future of everyone working at DFDS, and everyone working at DFDS is important for our ability to implement the strategy and create a future that benefits us all. More collaboration throughout our company is going to be key for success. By pulling together, we can create remarkable results that will make DFDS stronger for the benefit of us all,” says Torben.

The Win23 communication team will now distribute a short version of the presentation used in Copenhagen to local management to enable everyone to become more familiar with the Win23 implementation projects.

The Win23 communication team will also contact managers to offer assistance with adding local projects and issues to the presentation.

See a video of the staff meeting in Copenhagen about the Management Conference in DFDS House here.

See the video about Win23 here.

See the animation about Win23 Pillar B here.

DFDS House colleagues were invited to a staff meeting about the Executive Management Team’s Management Conference 2019

Management Conference about Win23 and people

Torben Carlsen had invited nearly 200 managers to the Management Conference 2019 that focused on our Win23 strategy and on collaboration as a key ingredient. The conference took place on Crown Seaways, where the crew and the organising committee had ensured a fantastic framework for the conference

It wasn’t easy speaking to your neighbours at the conference dinner on board Crown Seaways on Tuesday. The 200 managers seated with colleagues from other areas simply enjoyed the company so much or had so much to share that sound levels soared.

They only interruption was the Chairman, Claus V Hemmingsen, addressing the managers, and his speech could only make everyone at DFDS feel better. Following a tour de force of the journey that over the last 10 years has taken us to where we are now, and summing up the challenges we are facing with Brexit and geopolitical changes, he said: “I am, and the Board is, impressed and pleased with the dedication and resilience shown by you and your colleagues (…) I wish to express the Board’s gratitude and appreciation for everything you have delivered.”

Pointing to the future, the Chairman confirmed the Board’s full support for Management and our Win23 strategy. We had just learned a lot about it through the presentation on Ferry’s and Logistics’ projects and initiatives to reach the goal of a DKK 5.5 bn operating profit (EBITDA) in 2023, with the help of a much more digitised DFDS. Our digital colleagues gave us a very tangible understanding of the process.

The projects that implement the strategy range from growth in the new selected industries, growth in the Mediterranean to new ships on Amsterdam – Newcastle, new digital tools like DFDS Direct, DFDS Spot, use of artificial intelligence, and more. It is too much to report here and will all be dealt with at local staff meetings and articles on the Bridge.

About people
The conference was just as much about people, with external speakers reminding us of the importance of being agile – being able to change easily and effectively when things indicate that we have taken a wrong direction and quickly adapting to changing conditions. This was all very well demonstrated by a successful management game organised by our Training & Development team. Torben Carlsen said at the end of the conference: “I have been impressed with the energy, quality and commitment that has been displayed by everybody. Here is a group that believes we can deliver. Leading up to the conference, I mentioned the great attitudes that I had experienced around the system. I saw much more of this great attitude during the last three days – colleagues that enjoy being together, who are curious, who want to collaborate and who want to deliver.”

Collaborate to deliver, reflect to improve
Torben launched his six simple rules: Live by our behaviours, apply our operating model, assume best intentions, collaborate, deliver ROIC and be prepared to change direction. “But I learned that a good part of the rules could be more elegantly expressed through external speaker Cockburn’s simple rules: Collaborate to deliver, reflect to improve.”

And thus Torben summed up the tone of an extremely successful Management Conference 2019 that gave us all a clear direction for the future of DFDS.

Torben Carlsen visited Calais

On Monday this week, Torben met managers and staff in Calais – and was impressed and encouraged by the skills and commitment he experienced.


On Monday morning this week, Torben Carlsen visited Calais where he had one-to-one meetings with Jean Claude Charlo, Head of our organisation in France, and Delphine Blanquart, Operations Manager. Those meetings were followed by a staff meeting where Torben gave everyone an insight in the business development and – not least – our Win23 strategy and the implementation plans.

“It was again an encouraging experience to meet such skilled and committed colleagues, both at the individual meetings with managers and at the town hall that followed afterwards. With staff from Dieppe, Dunkerque and Calais. Everywhere I felt such huge interest in our company that I am very confident about our future,” says Torben.

On Monday, we will publish a story about Torben’s visit in Ghent on the same day.

Great visit to Dover

On board Dunkerque Seaways, Torben Carlsen visited the new coffee shop where he met some of the fantastic crew members who always offer fantastic service: With Torben in the front, from left: Viktorija Iljina and Olivia Moroney, and in the background Steve Newbery and Gary Hardwick, on-board services.


Earlier this week I went to see our colleagues in Dover which was highly energizing through meetings with various departments and a tour onboard Dunkerque Seaways.

On board Dunkerque Seaways, I experienced at first hand the new coffee shop concept where I met Viktorija Iljina and Olivia Moroney, enthusiastic crew members securing its success. Afterwards at the office, I was encouraged by our freight performance on the Channel by Wayne Bullen and his team, and I was blown away by the enthusiasm of Cheryl Hawes and her super skilled customer service team – to name but a few of the many talented and committed people I met. My visit also included meetings with Kasper Moos, Jesper Christensen, Chris Parker, Steve Newbury and Andrew Meek before finishing the visit with a town hall meeting where I was overwhelmed by the energy and support from the whole Dover office and their commitment to the success of DFDS.

Torben Carlsen, CEO

Torben Carlsen’s view of Dover when he left Dunkerque Seaways and took this picture of Channel head Kasper Moos, Steve Newbery and Gary Hardwick walking down the ramp.

Torben also met and was deeply impressed with Cheryl Hawes and her talented freight customer service team.

Growth despite Brexit concerns

DFDS’ half-yearly financial statement

Dear all,
Predicting how the economic growth in Europe will look like the rest of the year is challenging. Things are blurred by a lack of certainty about Brexit which may or may not take place on 31 October, and may or may not be a no-deal Brexit.

With this lack of certainty in mind, and a likely reduction in trade volumes for the rest of 2019, we have today announced a reduction in our expectations for the full year EBITDA result by 6% to now DKK 3.5 – 3.8 billion.

DFDS continues to be strong

DFDS has become a very robust company. In spite of Brexit concerns and a current downturn in Turkey, revenue increased by 10% to DKK 8.1 billion for the first half of 2019. This was mainly driven by expansion in the Mediterranean and higher passenger revenue. Operating profit (EBITDA) increased by 8% to DKK 1.7 billion.

We maintain our goal of increasing EBITDA to DKK 5.5 billion in 2023. This is not just based on our belief in market growth. It is primarily based on the growth we can create with our WIN23 strategy, by growing in selected industries, by reaping the benefits of more digital services, by strengthening our network through acquisitions and by delivering even greater value to our passengers. This is what the four pillars of our WIN23 strategy are all about. During the coming weeks and months, you will hear a lot more about the initiatives we have already launched and will be launching to implement WIN23, and to pave the way for a stronger, bigger and more profitable DFDS.

With the announcement yesterday about Anne-Christine Ahrenkiel joining us as new Chief People Officer and Head of Human Resource Division, the new Executive Management Team is almost in place. I am excited about the new team and the prospect of working with everyone at DFDS to show how our combination of dedication and professionalism can make our WIN23 strategy come alive.

Thank you for your hard work which has already taken us a long way.

Torben Carlsen, CEO

See the full results here

Win23 strategy implementation kicked off at VP meeting today

Today Torben Carlsen kicked off the concrete projects in our Win23 strategy at a VP meeting. Those responsible for the Win23 initiatives will be supported by Strategy & Consulting, which has developed a DFDS Way process for this with dedicated Andreas Björnsson and student assistant Nina Roepstorff as support. They are seen here with Filip Hermann, VP and Head of Strategy & Consulting.

From today, 9 August 2019, our Win23 strategy is underway into actual business after Torben Carlsen and Strategy & Consulting presented the strategy programme and overall programme framework to the VP group today along with a number of concrete Win23 initiatives.

“The aim of our strategy is to create a stronger, bigger and more profitable DFDS that aims to deliver an operating result of DKK 5.5 billion in 2023. To achieve this, we need the involvement, skills and dedication of all of you, and many of you are involved in the concrete initiatives officially kicked off today or that are already in progress,” says Torben Carlsen.

The initiatives are:

To grow solutions in select industries:

  • Specialise and grow with Automotive customers
  • Specialise and grow with Cold Chain customers
  • Specialise and grow with Forest & Metal customers.

To digitise DFDS and our services:

  • DFDS Direct/MyLogistics: grow digital offering in Logistics
  • DFDS Spot: grow digital offering in Ferry
  • Digitise the core.

To expand and develop our network:

  • Deliver UN Ro-Ro business plan including synergies
  • Build further scale through acquisitions
  • Successfully deploy new tonnage in North Sea and Baltics
  • Drive continuous improvements.

To create more value for passengers:

  • Drive increased value from passengers
  • New Amsterdam – Newcastle tonnage.

The EVPs and VPs responsible for the initiatives will involve their managers and staff to start work. They will be supported by Strategy & Consulting, which has developed a DFDS Way for the initiatives to ensure that they are carried out in an efficient and aligned way and can be reported uniformly. This is particularly important as the progress and result of the initiatives will be followed up by the Executive Management, reported to the Board of Directors and in the Group’s quarterly financial statements.

You will be informed about the initiatives in more detail by the manager of your area who will soon receive presentation material from Strategy & Consulting, and we will keep you all updated about the progress of those initiatives that are so important for the future of DFDS, our growth and the many jobs we create and provide.

See the Win23 video here.

Karina Deacon to be new CFO from 2 January 2020

Karina Deacon is new CFO and member of DFDS’ Executive Board from 1 January 2020.


Karina Deacon has been appointed new CFO for the DFDS Group starting on 1 January 2020.

She replaces Torben Carlsen as CFO following his appointment to President & CEO from 1 May 2019.

She will join Torben Carlsen in the Group’s Executive Board and be part of the Executive Team.

“I am very pleased to welcome Karina Deacon to DFDS. Her experience from successful listed companies and significant international career fit perfectly with her new role at DFDS,” says Torben Carlsen.

In her new role as Group CFO at DFDS, a primary task will be to drive continued earnings growth. Karina Deacon will be responsible for the Finance Division that includes Corporate Finance, Group Accounts & Tax, Investor Relations & Corporate Planning, Procurement, Legal & Insurance as well as DFDS’ internal Strategy & Consulting team.

Karina Deacon (50) has extensive strategic and financial management experience from positions with several large, international companies. She holds a Master of Business Administration & Auditing and has gained experience with various management, finance and accounting roles at PWC and ISS and positions as Group CFO from Landic Property, Saxo Bank and most recently Nilfisk.

“Together with Karina I look forward to achieving the ambitions of our new Win 23 strategy. In this respect, Karina’s experience with efficiency and transformations will be of great value to DFDS,” says Torben Carlsen.

“I am really excited to join DFDS and a team that has succeeded in creating impressive results over many years. I look very much forward to contribute to this together with my new colleagues,” says Karina Deacon.

Karina Deacon lives in Virum, North of Copenhagen, is married and has two boys 18 and 20 years old.

Changes to the DFDS organisation

By Torben Carlsen

Dear everyone,
Since I took over as CEO on 1 May, we have been working to plan the implementation of our strategy Win23 and adapt the organisation to the strategy. The aim is to create a framework that can help us create sustainable growth in line with our high ambitions.
Win23 and our new organisation will therefore build on what we do so well today in our strong ferry routes and equally strong logistics network by creating growth in our strategic pillars where we see the best opportunities for growth.

DFDS will create future growth by taking advantage of opportunities in our four strategic pillars: In selected industries; through more digitised operations and services; continuous improvements and acquisitions; and new passenger offerings.

The right structure is also about the right people to manage it. In the following, I will present our new structure and who we will be relying on to ensure that we have the very best management team to make DFDS successful in the future.

The new structure
Five EVPs will together with me form the new Executive Team.

Finance Division

The new Finance Division. IT and Digital will transfer to the new IT & Digital Division once a new EVP of IT & Digital is in place

We should soon be able to announce a new CFO and member of the Executive Team. Until then, I will continue to be acting CFO.
Valdemar Warburg will assume a new, exciting role in the Logistics Division, where he will be heading BU Nordic and DFDS Direct. The departments formerly reporting to Valdemar will from today report as follows:

Procurement will be headed by Pernille Hüls Dyrmose (39), who has been promoted to Vice President reporting to the CFO

Strategy & Consulting will be headed by Filip Hermann (38) who has also been promoted to Vice President reporting to the CFO

Innovation & Technology that is managed by Jakob Steffensen, will move to Digital. Jakob will report to Sophie-Kim Chapman

Smart Data, which is managed by Lars Holmquist, will also move to Digital. Lars will report to Sophie-Kim

Business Intelligence, which is managed by Jonas Holstein, will move to Digital, and Jonas will report to Sophie-Kim

CSR, headed by Sofie Hebeltoft, will transfer to Human Resources when the new EVP arrives.

Congratulations to Pernille and Filip on their well-deserved promotions to VPs. I am certain that their commitment, skills and proven abilities to co-operate will continue to bring them and DFDS success.
I also congratulate Sophie-Kim Chapman on taking over the responsibility for Innovation & Technology, Smart Data and Business Intelligence, areas in which she has profound experience.

Human Resources Division

The new Human Resources Division. We expect we can soon announce the name of the new EVP.

The People & Ships Division will be renamed the Human Resources Division, and we will soon be able to announce the name of our new EVP and Head of the Division. The Human Resources Division will include responsibility for HR and crewing departments in all regions and countries, as well as Training & Development. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will also join the Division and continue to be headed by Sofie Hebeltoft, Director.
Head of HR Kasper Damgaard will move out of HR to become head of the newly formed Business Unit Forest & Metal and Client Engagement in the Ferry Division as reported in a separate announcement by Peder Gellert.
Until the new EVP of the Human Resources Division joins DFDS, Kasper will maintain his current reporting lines and responsibility for Group HR. Gemma Griffin will continue to report to me and Sofie Hebeltoft will change reporting to me. Both until the new EVP of Human Resources joins us.

IT & Digital Division
IT & Digital will form a new division, and we are recruiting a new EVP who joins the Executive Team. Until further notice, IT and Digital will continue to report to the CFO.
Digital will continue to be managed by Sophie-Kim Chapman, VP Digital & Marketing, who will add Technology & Innovation, Smart Data and Business Intelligence to her department.
The IT Department will continue to be managed by Gert Møller, CIO. However, as earlier announced, Gert will retire at the end of the year.

The Ferry Division
The Ferry Division will continue to be managed by EVP Peder Gellert Pedersen. Peder is presenting changes to the Ferry Division in a separate announcement.

The Logistics Division
From 1 September, the Logistics Division will be headed by new EVP Niklas Andersson. Changes to the logistics organisation are presented by Eddie Green and Niklas Andersson in a separate announcement.

With the new organisation explained in this announcement and in the separate announcements about the Ferry and Logistics Divisions, I believe DFDS has the right structure and the right people to deliver the Win23 strategy.
If you have any questions, please reach out to the relevant person – including myself – or post a question under this article or the articles about the Ferry and Logistics Divisions.
I very much look forward to starting our exciting journey towards the ambitious goals of Win 23 together with you

Torben Carlsen, President & CEO


DFDS Organisation chart 2019